Porter’s work displays a deep knowledge of literary and social history yet is attuned to contemporary civilization and current jargon. Alan Brownjohn, reviewing Better Than God for the Times Online, identified Porter as a “poet, traveler and social observer,” noting that his manner is “calm, deliberate, sometimes distinctly grand, emotionally reticent.”
Porter edited The Best Australian Poetry (2005) and Selected Poems of Lawrence Durrell (2006) and translated After Martial (1972), a collection based on the poems of the Latin poet Martial.
Porter was a writer-in-residence at universities in both Australia and England. He received the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry, the Whitbread Prize for Poetry, the Duff Cooper Prize, and the 1990 Gold Medal of the Australian Literary Society. He died in 2010.